We've created this Frequently Asked Questions webpage based on the audience questions asked during our recent webinar. You can also download the presentation to review the slides we used.
We hope that this information is useful to you and that you're looking forward to working with us through the application process. If you haven't already started your application, we encourage you to begin the process now. The priority deadline for Summer 2022 is December 1, 2021.
At Boston College, we have a unique service-driven mission as an institution. That definitely translates into the Lynch School, as well: we have a social justice emphasis and we are focused on being socially conscious. So we're looking for applicants that this mission really resonates with them, as well as folks who have a commitment to some kind of institutional change or leading change in an institution.
We're also looking for students who have a very genuine desire to be a part of a cohort. We've intentionally designed the program to really build and expand on the relationships of the cohort. We believe there's a lot to be learned from one another, particularly when you're talking about executive doctoral programs. We know that there are other Ed.D. programs out there where the cohort is less emphasized. But in this case, you will really be with these folks for the next three years. Going through the coursework and the summer experiences and residencies, and so we're also looking for folks who have a genuine desire to be a part of that.
Cohorts are typically 12-15 students.
The priority deadline for Summer 2022 is December 1, 2021.
The target is to notify people in mid-February about their admissions decision.
This program prepares you to step up into a leadership role and create change within an institution of higher education. There's a large variety of positions that folks would be able to seek, that this degree will make them very marketable for.
We're expecting folks to be prepared to do upper level administrative work. Applicants might currently be an associate director or a director of large office/division, or, possibiy an assistant dean type of role ready to move up administratively.
The goal of the program is to prepare you to be able to pair your professional experience with the content, knowledge, understanding and networking gained through this degree to move into roles where you can effect change. That could be in an area of student affairs, it could be in administrative offices like enrollment management, advancement, or sponsored programs.
If you are seeking to transfer credits, we would need an official copy of the transcript. Often, a syllabus from the course in question also helps determine if it is a relevant substitute.
For admissions purposes, we are most concerned with transcripts for institutions where you received your degree. If you transferred a number of places, as long as that final transcript has the date of graduation, and all of the grades with the courses on that transcript, including grades from those prior institutions, that is what we would need to determine admission.
Think of the writing sample as a way to showcase your own ability to think and demonstrate some of your writing skills.
It could be a professional product that demonstrates something that you've worked on in your professional role that would help us to get a sense of your writing, it need not be an academic paper, although you may have that. If it is an academic paper that you are particularly proud of, or you think nicely showcases your skills, you should and could submit that. But, we do not expect that all of the writing samples will be academic papers. It could be a memo, it may be a report, and it would be even in some cases okay if this was authored with others, as long as you were the one that had clearly taken the lead on this as evidenced in some way.
You may also want to when submitting your writing sample, explain a bit of what it is and provide any context for the Admissions Committee. It would be helpful if you wanted to give a little bit of background of how the writing originated.
We have a growing list of potential elective courses. Many courses already exist within the higher education program. These might include Diversity in Higher Education, Organization and Administration in Higher Education, and Global Perspectives on Higher Education Leadership.
We would provide all students in the cohort with a complete list of options that could be considered for the electives. Some of these courses might be in other departments within the Lynch School, including research methods courses within the Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics, and Assesment Department or counseling and human development courses within the Counseling, Developmental & Educational Psychology Department. Other professional schools at Boston College may also offer online courses, within the Carroll School of Management, for example. Students could also consider those courses.
Although it is not required, if you are in the Boston area and want to come to Boston College and take an in-person course, that is also an option.
We're looking for someone who has a genuine desire to be a part of a cohort. We really have designed this program to be completed in three years. We thought it important also given research and other empirical evidence out there about how the longer it takes, especially at the professional level, the less likely it may be that one actually completes once starting. We really did want to be intentional about having students finish in three years, so we are expecting students to move through the curriculum at the same pace. In the first year, students will complete a total of two courses (6 credits) during the summer plus the week residency and three courses (9 credits) during the fall and spring (either 2 in the fall and 1 in the spring, or 1 in the fall and 2 in the spring).
One of the big strengths of the way that we have designed the curriculum is that the students in this program will have a course with all of the Higher Education full-time faculty both in the Department of Higher Educaiton and in the Center for International Higher Education, as well as other connections that we have with other instructors that may be a part of this program.
The first course in the program, the Proseminar, that Dr. Heather Rowan-Kenyon is teaching and creating will feature a lot of these folks talking about their research. Students will get to know more about our faculty members' academic interests and research areas. So students will be broadly exposed to the different research areas of all of the faculty in the classroom. Students will also have an advisor that they will get to know.
In terms of specifc student research projects, there will be research projects worked into the curriculum and those will be led by the faculty instructing the courses.
The capstone project will be completed in groups of two or three students, and it will take place at an institution. It may not necessarily be at your own institution. We will be partnering with different institutions when we get to this part of the process, working with folks in positions of leadership that are able to provide access that the capstone students would need in order to answer research questions that are of interest both to the institution and, ideally, of overlapping interest with the students. The capstone assignment process will figure both of those things in so student interests will be considered when selecting groups and sites such that we hope there's an optimal match. The project itself is centered around pressing questions facing the institution, but part of the selection of the sites or the institution will have to do with their willingness and ability to provide access to data or to faculty to interview or to students to interview. It will be a careful process of selecting the institution sites for the capsule project because we want to make sure that the students are able to do all the research that they set out to do.
All of the required courses will have synchronous components to them, so they will all include some time spent together online at the same time. That said, all of the courses will also likely include asynchronous components, so there will be some variety in terms of how much of the time is spent synchronously each term. We're leaving that up to the individual instructor for their pedagogical reasons, but all of the courses will have some synchronous pieces to them, and then of course the summer residencies are entirely spent together, so those are primarily synchronous sessions, with some synchronous online sessions leading up to and preparing for the time together, so that we can make the most of that time.
When determining the synchronous sessions, we will look to see who makes up the cohort of admitted students and what time zones those folks are in, because we want to make sure that we are able to do this at a time that is our synchronous sessions at a time that works for everyone. It is likely that many of these will be in the evenings because all of our applicants are working professionals, but we will determine the final time after we sort of have a sense of the different time zones of where people may be located.
We have talked and thought a lot about this issue, as we design the courses for this program. How should the work be distributed? What are we expecting of folks knowing that, as the question asks, they have other obligations and much of this work would be happening in the evenings or weekends?
Fortunately, Boston College has this great resource, the Center for Digital Innovation and Learning, where we are able to talk with folks, who are learning designers and are able to help us to think through time spent online in terms of screen time and reading and watching videos and how to distribute that.
The program is all being very intentionally designed. We did lots of focus groups with individuals who graduated from these types of the executive, cohort-based programs and talked about workload. It's interesting to hear their experiences saying that they knew this was a three year period of time where their focus was on school, knowing that it was going to be a big commitment and that it was going to take part of their time during the week and weekend.
One differentiator between the Ed.D. and the Ph.D. is that there are not the upper level methods classes, so we're not going to be asking folks to do multi-level modeling and advanced design and those types of things. Research will be a part of the Ed.D., but it is more about using data that's already been collected or using institutionally produced data to be able to use that to make good decisions and to answer the questions that we have.
The Ed.D. is more of a practice-based doctoral degree. The curriculum is designed to really help think about problem-solving in higher education, taking research that already exists and making sense of that, and spending time discerning what good research is (i.e. What can I trust? What do I do with a bunch of data? How do I make decisions off of all of this?).
The Ph.D. is more of a research-based degree, in which the expectation is that students are generating their own original research that will inform a broader field of higher education. It is not inherently connected to them being in a position in which they use that knowledge and research to act on. It's largely meant to inform the field about pressing issues in higher education.
So the Ed.D. program is really, very applied. We're having lots of case studies and discussions about contemporary issues and conflicts and trade offs and things like that as opposed to, as was mentioned earlier, a whole sequence of research courses designed to build the high level skills you would need to conduct original research. I think that's the perhaps biggest distinction between the two.
Yes, you need to indicate your interest in the Catholic Leadership concentration when you apply. There is a field on the application form to indicate this.
It is important to indicate this during the application process, because once you enroll there is not an option to switch into the concentration.
No. Any credits that were earned as part of another degree program, for example, a prior master's degree, would not be allowed to be transferred in to this program.
Boston College will accept up to six credits from prior coursework, which is two courses, that were not a part of a prior degree program, that were at the graduate level, and that met certain requirements that would fulfill our requirements for our electives.
There are four total electives that students in this program will take. If you have taken a course in higher education (or other potentially relevant course) that was not already part of a master's and wanted to talk about transferring those toward this Ed.D. program, we would discuss with you and determine if that course(s) was an appropriate elective (analogous to a course you would take in the program). If it is appropriate, then up to two of those courses could come from outside.
We are really looking for applicants who have work experience in higher education.
If the role in a high school was directly connected in some way to the college process, then we might consider this relevant experience.
We are hoping to build a cohort of folks who have professional, full-time experience working in, not always just colleges themselves, but it could even be for agencies in the post secondary sector that somehow relate directly to higher education research firms, or think tanks, or places like that that also overlap state agencies. But we are looking for experience that is directly applicable and related to higher education.